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Understanding patient views and experience of oral precancer

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rachel GreenORCiD, Professor Catherine Exley, Professor Peter Thomson, Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele CBE


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Objective: Oral precancers display a variable tendency to progress to invasive oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). There remain no universally agreed management protocols, but behaviour change to minimise risk is an important component of management. Many studies have looked at patient experience and quality of life following OSCC treatment, but there is a paucity of information regarding precancer. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the views and experiences of patients with oral precancer, in particular those relating to aetiology, risk factors, treatment and impact on everyday life. Method: 16 patients were recruited to the study. Criterion based sampling was employed to ensure a breadth of patient experience. In depth qualitative interviews allowed the exploration of patients' views and experiences in detail. Interviews were digitally audiorecorded and transcribed verbatim. Data collection and analysis was an iterative process following the principles of the constant comparative method. Results: Sixteen interviews with 9 men and 7 women aged 43 to 80 were conducted ranging from 15 to 57 minutes in length. Patients' accounts of their experiences provided new insights into their views and understanding of the condition. The emerging themes related to the conceptions and misconceptions of perceived aetiology and risk factors, the impact and experience of treatments on the individual, the apparent significance of the clinician-patient relationship, unmet information needs and the impact of the diagnosis on their everyday lives. Conclusions: The experience of oral precancer and its associated treatment is variable, for many representing a significant life event. These data suggest that, given the potential for the patient to influence the disease course, more attention needs to be given to meeting the information needs of the individual in order to improve patient understanding of disease and experience of care.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Green R, Exley C, Thomson PJ, Steele JG

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: International Association for Dental Research General Session (IADR 2010)

Year of Conference: 2010

Pages: 2571

ISSN: 0022-0345

Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Journal of Dental Research

ISBN: 15440591